A BRACE OF BEAUTIES...
...AND THE NEW KID ON THE BLOCK
To repeat myself (I do that a lot), I liken it to driving a Rolls Royce Wraith up to the top of a hill when you know that you should have taken the Land Rover Defender!So maybe the smaller Elecraft KX2 (the smallest fully featured HF radio in the world) is better suited to the job?
The KX3 is about $400 more expensive and weighs almost twice as much as the KX2, but it benefits from having two extra bands (160M & 6M) as standard. It can also benefit from having an optional Roofing Filter and charger installed (at an extra cost of $260) which aren't available for the KX2. The KX3 can also be fitted with an optional VHF Transverter for $340 and it has FM mode. Finally, the KX3 has an IQ-Out and panadapter-socket allowing you to connect it to Elecraft's $750 PX3 😵 An internal ATU is available for both radios at a cost of $300.
So the KX3 kit can very quickly get super expensive and I personally consider it to be better suited as something you'd use for low-risk Field Days where you'd have the radio in a Pelican Case in the back of your car and virtually drive right up to a picnic table and set up your station.
The KX2 on the other hand is very much an outdoor radio. It's incredibly small and light and has an amazing battery life (at QRP levels) using the internal Li-ion battery. The screen is identical on both radios but the idle current drain is fractionally lower on the KX2. It doesn't have any special damage-protection or weatherproofing, but its dimensions just make it easy to handle and reduce the risk of it being dropped I guess.
Having no Top Band (well, no tx) is of no consequence to me, since I almost never use it. Having no 6M band is more of a loss, but again, I don't use it much when out in the field. Like most people, after climbing or hiking to reach a good vantage point, I want to use the most heavily populated bands in order to maximise the number of contacts. Normally, that's 20, 40 & 17M for me.
My KX2 has a slightly better sounding speaker than my KX3 but it's still not good. I know that Elecraft claim most operators will be using headphones and the speaker is more of an emergency backup, but that's a load of tosh to me! If Belka can fit a perfectly good speaker in their tiny receiver, I'm sure Elecraft could have done the same. Jeez, I've got a $20 Chinese UV5R with a superb speaker in it!! If I'm not using headphones, I tend to use a separate speaker with the KX2 and KX3.
The KX2 has a built-in microphone but the vast majority of users plug a hand-mic in. Considering that Elecraft went to so much trouble to build such a tiny transceiver, including an internal battery pack and an internal ATU, I'm staggered that they didn't create a matching microphone! To pair the KX2 with their MH3 is like putting a size 12 Boot on a baby!! Everytime I pick it up I find myself shaking my head. Compared to Yaesu's smaller microphones (or Icoms or Kenwoods), the MH3 is a brick! And it's not even a speaker mic (although the inners indicate that it was possibly meant to have that option)!
It's worth pointing out that these two Elecrafts share the same wonderful screen from the K3S Base Station! So opting for the much smaller radio doesn't mean that you're stuck with a much smaller screen - no - they both share one of the best high-contrast LCD screens on the market. No matter how bright and sunny it is outdoors, the screen is always perfectly readable.
Both radios can be fitted with Elecraft's brilliant Paddles which are very compact but not restrictively so. Sadly, I cannot work CW but it's a great desire of mine to learn it one day.